Doing Good Through Health Professions

Nov 7, 2018

Dean Trevor YoungDean Trevor Young Yesterday, we celebrated the Faculty of Medicine’s fall convocation ceremony. We welcomed the Class of 2018 from our speech language pathology, occupational therapy, physical therapy and medical radiation sciences programs, as well as our collaborative Physician Assistant program, as our newest alumni. We also recognized the success of many other graduate students, including those who completed graduate degrees from the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute. At the ceremony, we were joined by colleagues from the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, who celebrate their own graduates, highlighting the value of interprofessional health at U of T. 

Speaking at yesterday’s convocation was Michelle DiEmanuele, President and CEO of Trillium Health Partners (THP). She is one of the many CEOs who bring vision and passion to the Toronto Academic Health Science Network (TAHSN). Under her leadership — aided by Dr. Alison Freeland, Vice President of Quality, Education & Patient Relations at THP and Associate Dean of Medical Education (Regional) at U of T Medicine — we’ve built deep bonds between our two institutions. This has ensured the success of the Mississauga Academy of Medicine, and allowed us to expand our occupational therapy program to U of T’s Mississauga campus.

In her remarks, Ms. DiEmanuele talked about the value of lifelong learning and the importance of being a part of — and contributing to — a good team. But one thing that stood out to me was her focus on the blend of kindness and professionalism required for a successful and enjoyable career in the health professions. She remarked:

“As a hospital CEO, I get to see physicians and nurses and health professionals at the beginning of their educations and at the end of their careers … and every stage in between. And I can tell you that the feature that distinguishes the best health professionals from their peers is that when they are finally ready to retire, the really good ones leave the profession filled with as much hope, and as much optimism, and as much kindness as when they first started their education.”

We need kindness to comfort our patients and sustain our colleagues. It’s a necessary professional trait, inherent in delivering care. 

Each of us — whether we’re a physician, a physician assistant, a rehabilitation professional or a researcher — can harness our skills and knowledge to make a positive contribution to our society. That also means having empathy and gratitude; saying thank you and sorry; and engaging with and being accountable for others, which in turn brings personal reward, as Ms. DiEmanuele said.

Her words remind us: our calling is to be good at our profession, but also to do good through it. 

Trevor Young
Dean, Faculty of Medicine
Vice Provost, Relations with Health Care Institutions

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